Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
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Bios & Kudos


Joan Slattery, Pippin Properties
Joan Slattery
Pippin Properties

After nearly 20 years in children’s book publishing, most recently as Senior Executive Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House), Joan Slattery joined Pippin Properties in 2010 as an agent and contracts manager. Joan is “thrilled to be working with authors and artists from this new vantage point.” She’s interested in a wide range of genres, especially in middle grade and young adult fiction. Joan cites sixth grade as one of her most voracious and memorable years of reading. Joan’s enthusiasm for our event makes her a perfect match for our accomplished and/or aspiring writers.

 “I’ve known Joan Slattery for 13 years. She was my editor for Stargirl; Milkweed; and Love, Stargirl. Joan is a writer’s editor. She does not intrude; she improves. She does not impose; she suggests. Some editors stuff your story into their own template. Joan discovers your story, measures it against its best possibility, and guides you in that direction. Joan is the only editor I have steered aspiring writers to. In her hands they have thrived.” — Jerry Spinelli, author of the Newbery winner Maniac Magee and more than 20 acclaimed novels for youth

 “We met Joan Slattery 14 years ago when she acquired our first young adult novel; she has since edited all five of the novels we’ve published with Knopf. Joan reads with the finest possible filter in place, examining even the smallest details. She is articulate, attentive, professional, and thoughtful. With a quiet, steady confidence that inspires hope, Joan has suggested revisions that have made each of our novels better.” — Tom and Laura McNeal, duo/solo authors of Dark Water (nominated for the National Book Award in 2010) and The Decoding of Lana Morris


Susan Van Metre
Susan Van Metre
Abrams Books

Susan Van Metre is the Senior Vice President and Publisher of Abrams Books for Young Readers and its fiction imprint Amulet Books, which Susan helped develop. She is interested in acquiring a wide range of genres for middle grade and young adult readers.

After attending the Radcliffe Publishing Course, Susan worked at Dutton for twelve years, editing Lauren Myracle, Eva Ibbotson, William Sleator, and Aidan Chambers. Susan left Dutton to help start Amulet Books, where she has published Lauren Myracle’s ttyl series, Michael Buckley’s Sisters Grimm books, and Tom Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, among others. Susan teaches creative writing to MFA students at The New School in New York. She presents at just one workshop per year; we are delighted that she has chosen ours!

 “Signing up for Susan Van Metre’s workshop was the best decision I made while pursuing my MFA. Susan is a writer’s dream editor and reader; taking her class is like getting an intense workout and eating dessert at the same time. Her enthusiasm for reading taught me how to savor great words, while her focused exercises strengthened and shaped my writing. Susan became my advisor six years ago, and I’ve been putting her inspirational instruction to use ever since.” — Caron A. Levis, author of The Blooz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; forthcoming) and graduate of The New School University’s MFA program in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults

 “Oh, you lucky workshop participants! To be in the company of Susan Van Metre, my editor of 13 years, is to bask in the warmth and brilliance of a true star. Again and again, Susan accomplishes the most amazing of feats: When she reads my early drafts, she sees the story that wants to come out, and she somehow knows exactly what questions, nudges, and pokes will help me dig deep and pull that story from the muck.

“I love Susan, plain and simple. I love her for her integrity, her vision, and her wisdom. I love her for pursuing excellence, and for making me do the same, even when it’s frickin’ hard. And it is hard to try and capture something true, however small or large that truth may be. But it’s exhilarating, too. Susan pushes me to be the best writer I can be, and in the process, she challenges me to be the best me I can be. I couldn’t ask for more.” — Lauren Myracle, New York Times best-selling author of Shine, as well as more than a dozen novels for tweens and teens

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